3 Effective Postpartum HIIT Workouts [For Busy Moms]

Are you interested in postpartum high intensity interval training, aka HIIT workouts that are safe to do after having a baby?

You are in the right place.

In this post you will learn:

  • When you can do HIIT after giving birth,
  • The best types of HIIT workout for new moms, and
  • How long your HIIT workouts should last.

Let’s get started.

pregnancy-hiit-workout

Disclaimer

***READ FIRST***

Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. All kinds of exercise and dietary changes are potentially dangerous, and those who do not seek counsel from the appropriate health care authority assume the liability of any injury which may occur. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.

Ok, moving on.

When can I do HIIT after giving birth?

After giving birth, you should wait at least 4-6 weeks prior to doing any type of HIIT workout.

That’s because your body needs time to heal from the delivery, regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or a c section.

With that said, some women may feel ready to workout sooner than 6 weeks postpartum. This is especially true if you were already fairly active before you got pregnant, and during your pregnancy.

If you want to exercise prior to 6 weeks, you should speak with your doctor to make sure that there are no contraindications to you working out.

If you do not feel ready that is okay! Every one is different and heal at different rates.

Give your body the time it needs. Do not rush the process!

When you feel ready the workout will be waiting for you. 🙂

So if you are ready to perform you first HIIT workout postpartum keep reading.

How To Start HIIT Safely Postnatally

Once you have received clearance from your doctor, it’s important to take things slow.

If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend that you focus on strengthening your core and your pelvic floor first.

The good news is, you don’t have to wait 6 weeks to do some of these exercises.

Start with gentle core and pelvic floor exercises and see how you feel.

After which, you can then begin focusing on bodyweight exercises.

It is important that you don’t jump right back into weights as heavy lifting can place too much pressure on your abdomen and uterus- especially if you had a c-section.

The first HIIT workout below will show you how to get started.

If you would like a week-by-week plan on how to get back into working out postpartum – check out my postpartum lifting guide right here.

Three 10 minute HIIT workouts for new moms

In this next section, we will go over three 10 minute postpartum HIIT workouts.

If you take nothing else away from this post – let it be this:

Always listen to your body. If anything feels funny – STOP. If anything causes pain or discomfort, STOP.

Never train through pain or discomfort. This is your body sending you information that something is wrong!

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get started.

Workout #1 Tabata

The first HIIT workout you could do postpartum is a Tabata workout (which is one of the most energetically efficient workouts).

Tabata means that you will perform an exercise for a specific amount of time, followed by a specific amount of rest.

In our example, we will do

  • 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise training
  • followed by 10 seconds of rest

You will do 4-5 rounds of each exercises using the Tabata protocol..

To make things easy, download an interval timer on your phone. That way, you can set a timer for 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest for 5 rounds.

So what exercises are you going to do?

They are:


Squat

postpartum-squat-challenge

Incline Push-up

incline-push-up

Lunges

reverse-lunge

Here’s what your workout will look:

  • 20 seconds of bodyweight squats
  • 10 seconds of rest
  • (x4-5 rounds)

Rest for 10-20 seconds

  • 20 seconds of incline push-ups
  • 10 seconds of rest
  • (x4-5 rounds)

Rest for 10-20 seconds

  • 20 seconds of reverse lunges
  • 10 seconds of rest
  • (x4-5 rounds)

Here are some tips:

Take your time. If you cannot do 4-5 rounds, start with 3 rounds.

If you cannot do full bodyweight squats, do supported squats (holding on to a table or a chair to help you get back up).

If you cannot do incline push-ups, do them on a taller incline or against a wall.

If you cannot do full lunges, do supported lunges (holding on to a table or a chair to help you get back up).


Up next we will use some added weights in our workout.

Full Body Dumbbell HIIT Workout 

Workout #2 12-9-6

The next type of HIIT workout you could do postpartum is the 12-9-6 workout.

Because we are using dumbbells, make sure that you are already comfortable with bodyweight exercises.

This workout starts pretty intense with you performing 12 reps of dumbbell deadlifts, followed by 9 reps of dumbbell cleans, and then 6 reps of dumbbell push press.

You will then rest for 10 seconds, and perform this entire circuit 3-4 times.

Here’s what the exercises look like.


Dumbbell Deadlifts

suitcase-deadlift

Dumbbell Cleans

dumbbell-cleans

Dumbbell Push Press

dumbbell-push-press

Here’s what your workout will look:

  • 12 reps of dumbbell deadlifts
  • 9 reps of dumbbell cleans
  • 6 reps of dumbbell push press

Rest for 10 seconds.

Then start your second round. You should complete a total of 3-4 rounds.

Here are some tips:

Take your time. If you cannot do 3-4 rounds, start with 2 rounds.

Start conservatively. Use the lightest dumbbells you can find, and as you get stronger, increase the weight.


Alright, let’s go over one more workout.

Postnatal Circuit Workout

Workout #3: EMOM

The last HIIT workout you could do postpartum is an EMOM workout.

EMOM is short for every minute on the minute.

This means every time your one minute timer goes off, you will perform:

  • 3 reps of dumbbell thrusters
  • 3 reps of incline push-up shoulder taps
  • 3 reps of step-ups with knee lifts, and
  • 3 reps of controlled burpees

If you finish before the next minute, amazing! Use that time to rest.

If you don’t finish the reps before the timer goes off, then the workout is over.

Keep track of how many rounds you can complete to see if you improve the next time you do this workout.

Again, if any exercise causes pain or discomfort, don’t do it.


Dumbbell Thrusters

dumbbell-thrusters

Incline Pushup shoulder Taps

incline-push-up-shoulder-taps

Step-ups with knee lifts

step-ups-with-knee-lifts

Controlled Burpees

controlled-burpees

Here’s what your workout will look:

  • 3 reps of thrusters
  • 3 reps of incline push-up shoulder taps
  • 3 reps step-ups with knee lifts (each side)
  • 3 reps of controlled burpees

If all of these exercises are completed before 60 seconds are up, rest until the timer hits 60 seconds.

Repeat this sequence as often as you can until you cannot accomplish the work in 60 seconds.

Here are some tips:

Use light dumbbells for the thrusters.

If you cannot do full incline push-ups, do them against a wall.

If the step-ups are challenging, use a shorter step to make the exercise easier.

For the controlled burpees, you don’t have to do the push-up component.


How long until you see results from HIIT?

You should start to see results within 4-6 weeks of doing HIIT.

You will see improvements in your cardiovascular endurance, as well as some fat loss.

With that said, HIIT does not necessarily build muscle as effectively as resistance training.

Cardio Vs Resistance Training

Cardio is a type of training that aims to improve the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and energy utilization.

Resistance training is a form of exercise that aims to improve the strength and size of muscles by making them work against a force. This force can be provided by your body weight, dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, or barbells.

HIIT tries to combine both cardio and weight training into one workout, but it primarily improves your cardiovascular fitness more so than your strength.

To learn more about resistance training in the postpartum, check out this article.

Is it OK to do HIIT after weight training?

The short answer is yes, you can do HIIT after weight training, however, it depends on your recovery period.

HIIT training is very fatiguing.

Weight training can also be pretty taxing on your body.

Make sure you have adequate rest between workouts and throughout the week if this is something you’d like to consider.

Other Related Questions

Can I do a 10 minute HIIT every day?

In theory, you can do a 10 minute HIIT workout every day. It all depends on the intensity of the workout. The more intense the workout is, the more rest you will need between sets.

In general, I recommend that you do not workout every single day. 3-4 times per week will be more than enough.

However, if you want to work out every day, make sure you are adequately hydrating yourself by looking at the color of your urine.

You want your urine to be a pale yellow color.

Make sure you are also stretching and performing mobility work to prevent your muscles from becoming shortened and tightened.

Does HIIT reduce belly fat?

HIIT may contribute to reduction in belly fat.

HIIT-belly-fat

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to spot reduce fat. HIIT in combination with diet can help you lose total body fat, which can ultimately reduce body fat.

I have the following articles that may aid in reducing your belly fat postpartum:

What happens if you work out too soon postpartum?

Working out too soon after childbirth can lead to the following postpartum complications.

  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Muscle injury, and/or
  • Back pain

To learn more about exercising too soon postpartum, check out this post.

Will HIIT affect my milk supply?

In short, no, HIIT should not affect your milk production.

With that said you may want to consider the following recommendations:

Final Words On Postpartum Interval Training

HIIT training is a great way to train your body in the postpartum period.

Make sure you take it slow and avoid anything that causes pain or discomfort.

And as always, check with your doctor first!

Now I want to hear from you.

When did you start HIIT postpartum?

What is your favorite HIIT workout?

Comment below and let me know!

Related Posts To Exercising Postpartum


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brittany-robles

Brittany N Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Brittany N Robles is a full-time OBGYN, a NASM certified personal trainer, and health & fitness expert. She holds a Masters of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.

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